STATE COLLEGE – Members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees highlighted advances in animal health and biosecurity during a public hearing today that was held in conjunction with Penn State’s Ag Progress Days 2019.
Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Elder Vogel (R-47) noted the importance of the additional funding in the 2019-20 budget to protect the health of the agriculture industry. The new budget boosts funding for the Department of Agriculture by more than $19 million.
The Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission, which is responsible for investigating and addressing diseases in farm animals, received $2 million in this year’s budget. An additional $4 million was also dedicated to the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness initiative to facilitate the state’s response to public health threats, such as Avian Influenza, or invasive species that threaten the industry, such as the Spotted Lanternfly.
“Protecting our state’s livestock against diseases and other threats is a critical part of keeping our food supply safe and ensuring Pennsylvania remains healthy,” Vogel said. “The investments we made in this year’s budget will go a long way toward identifying and controlling any potential threats to the agriculture community as a whole.”
The hearing featured testimony from Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, Penn State Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences Dr. Richard Roush, state Department of Agriculture Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services State Veterinarian and Director Kevin Brightbill, and Dr. Ernest Hovingh Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.
Testimony and other information from the hearing will be available online at https://agriculture.pasenategop.com/.
Ag Progress Days, which are held each August, showcase a number of technology and research exhibits. The three-day event is the largest outdoor agricultural exhibition in the state. More information about Ag Progress Days is available online at https://agsci.psu.edu/apd/about.
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